Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Holocaust and the New Judaism it spawned.

I was thinking about what I wrote earlier in response to the Chainik Hocker's comments on today being the anniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz, and I feel the need to confess something about the Holocaust.

I almost never think about it.

On both sides of my family, we saw the writing on the wall before 1920 and packed up to come to America. Therefore, I have a hard time counting lost family members (that I know of) on even one hand, not that I'm complaining. I therefore have a distant view of it, less emotional, and as such, perhaps clearer perspective on it.

In short, we dwell on the Holocaust too much. We dwell on it so much that you'd think Herod, Titus, Constantine and Chmielnicki had never been born and had never harmed anyone.

Among the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist, the Holocaust has become a foundationstone for their mockery of religion that they call Judaism. When most non-religious Jewish teens are asked what are the top three things that mean the most to them about their religion, Hashem doesn't make the list, but the Holocaust does.

The Holocaust has literally become Judaism to so many Jews. When death and destruction become a religion, is it any wonder why these people have no interest in going to shul or in being Jewish? Need we even ask why the conversion and intermarriage rates are so high?

In Judaism, we keep it in perspective. It is a mitzvah to be happy. We have Tisha B'av for sorrow.


At 11:14 AM, Blogger JamesEJ said...

I generally agree that we should not dwell on the Holocaust as the defining aspect of Judaism. My wife is a convert from Catholicism, and she always points to the line in 'Dogma,' "Catholics don't celebrate their religion, they mourn it." We should not emulate Catholics in this way.

That said, there are two thing about the Shoah that can be important, especially to libertarian Jews. First, but not as important, is that there were many brave Jews , like Mordechai Anielwicz and his brethren in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, who we can hold up as examples for the armed defense of freedom by private individuals. Second, and more importantly, the Shoah demonstrates that G-d will only help those who take personal responsibility to help themselves. Relying on G-d's protection, or relying on protection from the (even Jewish) collective is foolhardy, unless you have a plan to take personal responsibility and protect yourself and the ones you love. Too many Jews did not learn the lessons tought in the Holocaust about collectivism, but the lessons are there nonetheless.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Jen said...

You just gave me a lot to think about.


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